Friday, July 21, 2006 11:14:42 PM
Yesterday was my fourth day in Paris and I am continuing to improve my french. I am getting the much needed street practice and I am learning to overcome my fear of speaking. By street practice I mean real french as it is spoken in cafes, government offices, hotel lobbies, churches, and so on. All I usually hear are the lesson on my mp3 player or what Steve speaks to me. I have just heard words in a lesson, but I am in fear that if I use them others will not understand, but when I do use the words and the people do understand, I am delighted! This absolutely amazes me. Language actually works. Then from the other perspective I hear words, which at first I do not understand and then I remember, “Yes,I know that word! I have heard that word in one of my lessons.” This is the first time I am hearing the word in a real conversation and it has the effect of a light going on in my head. This is a exciting experience.
Anna, I do not mind if you consider me to be a fool because I am so easily pleased. The simple act of speaking a language is a cosmic experience for me. There are even times when I “get into it” so much that the words start to flow out of me without conscious thought, and I can even understand what I am saying. I am actually thinking in French. Wow! Back home I am close to finishing my spoken French course, and once that is done I plan to concentrate on the written language. My goal is to read book one of Harry Potter. As far as spoken French is concerned the only thing that can be done at this point is more street practice which means more coming to France, more sitting in cafes, more going to stores and more just being with the French. When I am standing in line to buy groceries, for example, I always try to get a conversation going with the ladies in front or behind me. I might says something like, “Bon jour madan, je suis Americain de Los Angeles au California. J’ ai neuf enfants, quatre garcons et cinq filles! Combien d’ efant avez-vous”? This usually gets somebody talking. Idiotic American, but I could careless what they think of me, just as long as they talk to me. While I am here in Paris if I did nothing more that simply talk to housewives in the grocery line I will be happy.